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Monday, April 02, 2012
April 2, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:51 PM :: 2773 Views :: Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party
 

HB1033: Tracing the Financial Outlines of Socialism in Hawaii

S&P: Credit Risks Mount For U.S. Domestic Shipping Companies As Ships Start Showing Their Age

Vancouver Sun: Hawaii Vacation Rental Bills Violate NAFTA

Abercrombie: Unions Better Wake Up, HSTA Contract Will be up in June

CB Interviews Abercrombie: "It's called collective bargaining, and it's very difficult to bargain with someone that doesn't want to do it," said Abercrombie. "And if they don't want to do it, that's their position. But that's not going to stop me."

There's no stalemate. ... They never talked to us. We got no communication at all for months. Nothing. Zero. It was entirely done through a lawyer at the Labor Board….

I'm not trying to be tricky with you. We literally had no contact, other than that. And yet it is what it is. The only other contact, if you will, was this 138-page "card shuffle" that we got dropped over the transom. It looked like cards got shuffled and they simply dropped it on our desk….

And that's why I put the settlement offer out, because it was just impossible. It was like trying to swallow a large animal and you are a small creature. …

I've never experienced anything like this. Even the other public unions got exasperated with them (HSTA). It's a leadership crisis, I guess….

(Asked about HGEA opposition to imposition of HSTA contract) … they ought to wake up and understand that I am not going to jeopardize the welfare of children nor incapacitate the school system from being able to operate. I mean, that's exactly what's going to take place. Nor am I going to undermine the capacity of teachers who want to teach to be able to do so. 

…the existing contract will be up in June.

As explained: Faking it for the Feds, Abercrombie Prepares to Impose Another ‘Last, Best, and Final Offer’ on HSTA

read … Abercrombie

SB682 Could Change Terms of OHA Settlement

SA: But that's not the end of the story. The Legislature was also considering a companion proposal, Senate Bill 682, that could dramatically increase the value of those 30 acres. The bill would do so by lifting the ban on high-rise residential development on the Kakaako makai lands, allowing residential development on two parcels, designated E and I. It provides that 20 percent of the units be designated for low- or moderate-income residents. The projects would also be exempt from fees normally charged to private developers by the Hawaii Community Development Authority, which is in charge of planning and development in Kakaako.

What's wrong with this picture? Simply put, SB 682 would effectively, if indirectly, change the value and terms of the OHA settlement.

And, in the process, it would abruptly upend years of careful planning — made with extensive public participation — that resulted in the Kakaako Makai Conceptual Master Plan, which guides the development of this last, cherished open public coastline in urban Honolulu. The plan's vision of a "community gathering place" could be replaced with high-density, high-value oceanfront residential properties.

OHA…noted that it is open to negotiating entitlements for its newly acquired property "in subsequent legislative sessions."

read … Grasping Trustees

Ethics: Belatti Throws Clunker into Charter School Reform Bill

SA: The exemption was added to Senate Bill 2115, HD 1, as it emerged from the House Education and Labor committees. Last week the Finance Committee deferred decision-making on the bill until this afternoon, after a deputy attorney general questioned the constitutionality of that provision.

The language would exempt charter schools, their employees, their governing boards and the proposed Charter School Commission from state ethics laws. Instead, the Charter Commission would develop and enforce its own ethics policies and procedures covering gifts, confidential information, fair treatment and contracts.

Rep. Della Au Belatti, Education Committee vice chairwoman, who has been shepherding the bill through the House, said the provision was inserted in an effort to clarify the law and "in some ways strengthen it."

…The amendment came as a surprise to some observers because the omnibus bill is designed to revamp the state's public charter school system by improving monitoring of their academic and financial performance and putting schools on performance contracts.

The provision appears to conflict with a state constitutional mandate that "requires the Legislature to adopt a code of ethics that applies to employees of the state and members of state boards," according to testimony Thursday by Deputy Attorney General Monica Morris. It advised the Finance Committee to remove the proposed exemption.

John Colson, a former charter school principal and chairman of the Charter School Review Panel, also questioned the wisdom of the exemption.

"Part of what the Legislature has been asking for was accountability," he said during a phone interview. "In my mind accountability involves audits, accreditation, performance contracts and ethics — how we behave as schools, how financially prudent we are and whether we are doing the correct things academically to support our kids."

"I don't see the point of creating another agency that would deal with charter school ethics," Colson told the Star-Advertiser, saying he was speaking only for himself. "Why would we want to create a redundancy? It (the Ethics Commission) is already there. God knows we struggle for funding as it is. I don't know that we can put that responsibility on a volunteer Charter Commission."

read … Ethics

Today may be the last chance to remove monopoly health insurers from the Hawaii Health Connector

DN: 5 p.m. today will be the last hearing that SB2434 will have in the state legislature.

This is the bill that community groups have focused on in order to demand changes to the Hawaii Health Connector to remove the state’s largest health insurers, who clearly have a huge conflict of interest (because their income will depend on the decisions that they will vote on, if they stay on the board). It’s also a chance to change the organization of the board from a fully independent non-profit, unaccountable to either state government or to its citizens, to a governmental or quasi-governmental body the way all other states have done. Yes, Hawaii is unique in this respect, and it’s a bad deal.

read … Today may be the last chance to remove monopoly health insurers from the Hawaii Health Connector

Green Energy Bank would Use Hawaii General Fund to Build Wind farms Nationwide

SA: In June 2011, the state of Connecticut enacted legislation creating the Connecticut Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority, the first full-scale clean energy finance institution — or "green bank" — in the nation.

Legislation under consideration in the Hawaii Legislature (House Bill 1033) would create a clean economy fund that would give Hawaii the same ability as Connecticut's green bank to leverage both public and private capital, scale-up clean energy deployment and reduce (increase) energy rates for residents and businesses. Also, the new fund would be empowered to help finance the clean economy nationwide. (Not just Hawaii green energy scammers)

Several key elements of the green bank model enacted in Connecticut and under consideration in Hawaii separate it from traditional clean energy funding programs. First, green banks are able to access federal funds — including unspent stimulus dollars that are set to expire in 2012 — and deploy those resources in a unique way that attracts private capital to extend the level of investment in clean energy.

…Hawaii's clean economy fund will help to bridge the gap between where local banks are able to lend and the rate needed for a clean energy project to succeed.

Best Comment: Leave it to the Star Advertiser to run another "Press Release Spin Report" on yet another governmental scheme that will inevitably end up costing the taxpayers more money and result in creating more tax funded positions. And of all states to pick as an example to follow, Connecticut is the worst of the worst when it comes to finances. The financial state of Connecticut ranks 50th among the 50 states with an outstanding net liability of $53.4 billion leaving each taxpayer with a burden of $41,200. Hawaii's standing is not much better at 47th with an out standing individual taxpayer burden of $25,000. (The data reported represents FY 2009 due to late issue of individual states financial reports, Hawaii's being the most tardy in 2010).

As explained: HB1033: Tracing the Financial Outlines of Socialism in Hawaii

read … Shibai da Kine

Is It 'Reckless' To Build Honolulu Rail Before Feds Commit Funds?

CB: With heavy, above-ground construction set to start any day, rail opponents have revved up their criticism of the $5.2 billion project.

They charge that it's "reckless" to move forward with construction without any guarantee that Honolulu will get the $1.55 billion in federal funds it's counting on to complete the 20-mile elevated line.

It may be, but it's certainly something that's done elsewhere, a Civil Beat investigation of other rail projects across the country found. Some followed a path similar to Honolulu's, beginning construction using local dollars before getting a commitment of federal funds.

Slater: “…federal funding for the Honolulu rail project is getting dimmer and dimmer. IF the Transportation Bill does get put off until after the end of the year, and IF the upcoming elections lead to a stronger Tea Party in the House, and IF the Republicans take the Senate, there will be no rail funding. This is a very different funding environment than anyone has faced before; that is the major difference between past federal funding and today.”

read … Is It 'Reckless' To Build Honolulu Rail Before Feds Commit Funds?

Second Crossover Deadline Thursday

HR: The Hawaii State Legislature meets for 60 working days, and already Monday, April 2, is the 42nd day.

This is an intense week ahead as all bills that will be posted for final action must pass their committees in both the House and Senate by this Thursday.

Next Tuesday and Thursday, hundreds of bills will cross between Houses for the second time of three times.

The following week, bills still alive will be assigned to House and Senate Conference committees, where lawmakers will discuss compromises so bills can be finalized by the May 3 final crossover deadline.

Some bills that were expected to pass easily this year are stalled.

For example, Senate Bill 2012, the Senate Democrats premiere piece of legislation that provides for $500 million in shovel ready capital improvement projects, has not even received a hearing in the House.

read … Crossover

Mufi Teams Up with Guam Republicans for Fundraiser

CB: Prominent GOP members in attendance included George Bamba, who from 2005 to 2010 served as chief of staff to former Guam Gov. Felix Camacho, a Republican.

That comes from sources on Guam who were granted anonymity by Civil Beat because of the island's close-knit population.

The event was held at the Fiesta Resort, which is owned by Tan Holdings Corporation. The suggested donation was $500.

The Saipan-based Tan Holdings — self-described as "the largest private taxpayer and employer in the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands" — has a diverse portfolio that includes tourism, airlines, insurance, fishing, real estate and information technology.

Company president Jerry Tan was at the Hannemann fundraiser, according to sources.

Federal Election Commission records show that Tan has contributed $2,000 to Hannemann's campaign. So has George Chiu, the company's executive vice president….

Willie Tan has a controversial history, (Abramoff, Hillary Clinton, etc.) according to news reports. See: Democratic Underground Piece

read … Guam Mufi

Hawaii Scores 25% for Executive Branch Financial Disclosure

Notes: According to Honolulu Civil Beat, the financial disclosure forms of state cabinet-level officials were not available for public review in February 2011. Although the documents may have been submitted, the State Ethics Commission had not posted it online, according to Honolulu Civil Beat. For example, Gov. Neil Abercrombie's nominee William Aila Jr. turned in his form more than a month late and it wasn't posted online due to a backlog of new filings, according to Honolulu Civil Beat. It takes a couple of weeks for the public to access financial disclosure documents, a significant delay, according to Cody Hensarling with the nonprofit, free market think tank Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.

Score: 25% Scoring criteria: These are the scoring criteria for this question. Very Strong: Records are available online, or records can be obtained within two days. Records are uniformly available; there are no delays for politically sensitive information. Fair: Records take around two weeks to obtain. Some additional delays may be experienced. Very Weak: Records take more than a month to acquire. In some cases, records may be available sooner, but there may be persistent delays in obtaining politically sensitive records.

read … Financial Disclosure?

Pay raises advocated for city officials

SA: Most city department heads would get 3 percent raises in the coming fiscal year under recommendations made by the Hono­lulu Salary Commission last week.

The only city officials who would get larger raises would be the police chief and deputy chiefs, who would receive 5.5 percent raises, and the fire chief and his deputy, who would get 4 percent raises.

The medical examiner and deputy medical examiner, which were the only positions to get raises this year, are not being recommended for raises this time around; nor is the Royal Hawaiian Band director.

The commission voted 6-0 Tuesday, with one member absent, to preliminarily approve the recommendations. If given final approval, the proposals will go to the City Council, which will have the final say as part of its budget deliberations.

read … Mo Money

Molokai condo lawsuit gets big result, lots of news

ILind: There were several good news stores from the Star-Advertiser, Maui News, The Molokai News, and the Molokai Dispatch.

The case was also picked up by a number of mainland blogs that deal with condominium legal issues, including the HOA Law Blog, Court.us (which links to an MSNBC story), Ward Lucas’s Blog (with a catchy headline, ‘Think Las Vegas HOA Crime is Bad? Try Hawaii!’), and The Privatopia Papers (written by Evan McKenzie, author of “Privatopia: Homeowner Associations and the Rise of Residential Private Government”).

For more of the gory details, check out the plaintiff’s trial memo. It’s in legalese, but it has some graphic descriptions of what went on at this Molokai condo.

read … Molokai

Condo losses from theft now $100,000

ILind: In conjunction with our audit, we can confirm that Ms. Floerke used her position of authority to intentionally circumvent our accounting processes with the three associations, all ones that she at one point managed directly. We’ve now put in place protocols prohibiting executives from individually managing the financial affairs of our clients. Along those lines, we’ve received several questions around the amount of funds involved. Our auditors are estimating the amount to be approximately $100,000, and we will provide exact figures along with a reimbursement check to the three affected Boards once we know our investigation is thoroughly complete.

read … $100,000 and Counting

Obstacles to Veterans Transitioning into University Education?

CB: On Friday, March 23, 2012, a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Think took place at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

The purpose of the event was to identify obstacles, support, and possibilities for Wounded Warriors transitioning into post-secondary education. The event opened with a veterans’ panel/talk story session during which time the audience had the opportunity to hear veteran perspectives and ask questions.

read … Will Veterans Conquer Gramscians … or the other way around?

Private Schools Raise Tuition 3%-6%

SA: Hawaii's largest private schools will increase tuition by 3 to 6 percent in the 2012-13 school year, with increases at several schools slightly larger than what parents paid this school year.

read … but 1000s still pay to save their children from DoE

State House resolution calls for lower shipping fees on Internet purchases

AP: Online merchants often charge higher fees to ship their goods to Hawaii or Alaska. Residents of both states are also frequently ineligible for free or discounted shipping offered as incentives for those who live on the mainland.

The measure asks U.S. Congress to pass legislation requiring Internet retailers to offer shipping fees to Hawaii and Alaska that are comparable to those for the 48 contiguous states.

read … Next Year they will tax internet purchases

EXCLUSIVE: Honolulu Zoo's full accreditation restored

HNN: Sources told Hawaii News Now a three-person inspection team from the AZA reviewed conditions at Honolulu Zoo in January and the organization has agreed to restore the zoo's national accreditation, one year after putting it on hold because of a number of problems that have since been fixed. The zoo never lost its accreditation.

The biggest improvement noted by accreditation inspectors was the opening of the $12 million new elephant habitat late last year.

The zoo's two female elephants now enjoy a home that's about ten times larger than their old cramped quarters, where they spent nearly 20 years.

read … Now if only they can get their birds back

Maui: 450 Idiots Spend 10 Hours Listening to Conspiracy Huckster

Yesterday, I made the trip from the Big Island of Hawaii to the adjoining island of Maui to see David Icke do a one day event on the theme “Remember Who You Are”. I had some years earlier read two of Icke’s books and many of his articles where he discussed the secret hierarchy in control of our world. This was my first time seeing him live. I was looking forward to the experience, and was not to be disappointed.

About 450 people were there at the Castle Theater to see David Icke deliver an impassioned ten hour presentation broken down into four parts. It was wonderful to see the Hawaiian audience react so positively to the message he had to deliver, which covered the full spectrum of his understanding of our global situation, and how humanity can break free of our “Reptilian” overlords by riding a powerful “truth frequency” wave sweeping into our world….

read … about the stupid crap that conscious, enlightened, and progressive types fall for every day

Charlie Maxwell Changed With Pension, Free Time

MN: Brown said. "Charlie would often say, 'People don't always like me, but that's all right. We have to do the things that are right, even if it's unpopular.' "

Maxwell's oldest grandson, Dane Kiyoshi Uluwehiokalani Maxwell, led the service Sunday. In August, he was ordained to perform Hawaiian spiritual duties, with his grandfather passing the torch as his health was failing.

"Summing up my grandfather in one word is impossible," Maxwell said. "But if forced to do so, I would choose 'great.' "

He said his grandfather was "not just a fighter but a true warrior," whether he was up against drunken sailors in Lahaina when he was a police officer or leading the charge for the return of Kahoolawe to the state…

Born in Napili and raised in Kula, Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell Sr. had been a police officer for 15 years before retiring because of an injury in the line of duty, his son said.

"It was at that time in his life he began to change," he said. "With his newfound free time, he began helping Hawaiian people."

Maxwell Jr. remembered going on a hunting trip to Kahoolawe with his father. "He promised we would return and take this island over.”

Said another grandson, Adrian Kamali'i Maxwell: "You may not have liked him. You may not have agreed with him. No one can disagree with his lasting impact in Hawaii. His living was not in vain.

read … Idle Hands

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